TCRLA_Public/040322.mbx         T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

                    L A T I N   A M E R I C A

            Monday, March 22, 2004, Vol. 5, Issue 57

                            Headlines


A R G E N T I N A

BANCO DE GALICIA: Extends Exchange Offer to April 15, 2004
BANCO FRANCES: Board Approves Sale of Cayman Islands Branch
BANCO FRANCES: Expects $117.7M Capital Injection From Parent
BANCO FRANCES: Argentine S&P Rates $1B of Bonds `raBBB-'
BHN III: Local S&P Reaffirms Various Debt Ratings

BHN IV: Debt Securities Ratings Reaffirmed
CLAXSON INTERACTIVE: Financial Performance Better in 2003
CLISA: Local S&P Maintains Ratings on Corporate Bonds
IEBA: $230M of Corporate Bonds Get Default Ratings From S&P
IMPSA: Fitch Argentina Maintains Ratings on Corporate Bonds

IRSA: Buying Back $12M of its Debt at 28% Discount
LOMA NEGRA: S&P Reaffirms `raBB' Rating on $39.78M of Bonds
METROGAS: Local S&P Assigns Various Bonds Default Ratings
MOVICOM BELLSOUTH: Telefonica Says Merger No Competition Threat
MULTICANAL: Issues Notification Regarding APE

TGS: S&P Maintains, Assigns Ratings to Various Bonds
TITAN TELECOM: Fitch Downgrades Financial Trust Rating


B R A Z I L

AES CORP.: Increases Revolving Credit Facility to $450M
AES CORP.: Outlines Plans for Brasiliana IPO
EMBRATEL: Brazil Eyeing Star One
GERDAU: Details Interest Payment on Capital Stock


C H I L E

AES GENER: Accelerates Bonds' Tender Offer Experation


C O L O M B I A

AVIANCA: Shareholders Liquidate to Rescue Troubled Airline


E C U A D O R

PETROECUADOR: Signs OCP Pipeline Deal, Awaits Govt. Approval


M E X I C O

SPEIZMAN INDUSTRIES: Extends Bank Agreements Once Again


     - - - - - - - - - -


=================
A R G E N T I N A
=================

BANCO DE GALICIA: Extends Exchange Offer to April 15, 2004
----------------------------------------------------------
Banco de Galicia y Buenos Aires S.A., a corporation organized
under the laws of the Republic of Argentina (Buenos Aires Stock
Exchange:  GALI, the "Bank" or "Banco Galicia"), announced
Thursday that it has extended the expiration date of its offer
to holders of its 9% Notes due 2003 and Step Up Floating Rate
Notes due 2002 (together, the "Existing Notes") to exchange
their Existing Notes for units, in a par for par exchange offer
and, in an optional second step to the exchange, to receive
cash, Bonos del Gobierno Nacional due August 3, 2012 issued by
the Republic of Argentina, or new securities, in each case,
subject to proration and upon the terms and subject to the
conditions set forth in the Pricing Supplement, dated December
23, 2003 as supplemented by the Supplement dated March 18, 2004,
and in the related electronic letter of transmittal and
authorization.  Taking into account upcoming holidays and the
legal and regulatory requirements described below, the exchange
offer is now scheduled to expire at 3:00 p.m., New York City
time, on April 15, 2004, unless extended further.  The tender
withdrawal deadline for the offer is also extended to 3:00 p.m.,
New York City time, on April 15, 2004, unless extended further.

Grupo Financiero Galicia S.A. ("Grupo Galicia") is in the
process of obtaining the necessary approval from the Comisión
Nacional de Valores (the "CNV") to begin its rights offering to
its existing shareholders to subscribe for mandatorily
convertible preferred shares of Grupo Galicia.  Preferred shares
not subscribed for in the rights offering will be made available
to holders of Existing Notes and bank creditors that elect to
participate in the equity participation offer and the similar
offer in the bank debt restructuring in accordance with the
terms described in the Pricing Supplement and the Supplement.

Argentine law and CNV regulations establish certain minimum
timing requirements and notice publication requirements for
rights offerings that, among other things, require rights
offerings to remain open for at least ten days after publication
of the necessary notices.  Grupo Galicia intends to launch the
rights offering approximately on the 8th business day following
the receipt of the approval of the Comision Nacional de Valores.
The launching of the rights offering is a condition to the
exchange offer.

In connection with the exchange offer to the holders of the
Existing Notes, as of 3:30 P.M. (New York City time) on March
17, 2004, the Bank was advised by Citibank, N.A., the exchange
agent, that an aggregate principal amount of US$282.7 million of
the Existing Notes had been validly tendered.  In connection
with the restructuring of the Bank's other debt with bank
creditors, as of the date hereof, the Bank has received non-
binding commitments from bank creditors holding US$ 692.2
million of aggregate principal amount of bank debt, indicating
such creditors' intention to participate in the restructuring as
currently contemplated.  The Bank will consummate the exchange
offer and the restructuring of its bank debt simultaneously,
subject to satisfaction of the conditions to closing of these
transactions.

Founded in 1905, the Bank is one of the largest private-sector
banks in the Argentine financial system and a leading financial
services provider in the country.  As a universal bank, through
affiliated companies and a variety of distribution channels,
Banco Galicia offers a full spectrum of financial services to
individuals and corporations.

THE OFFERING OF THE NEW NOTES AND BODEN 2012 IS BEING MADE IN
ARGENTINA BY A SEPARATE PRICING SUPPLEMENT IN SPANISH. THE
OFFERING IN ARGENTINA OF THE PREFERRED SHARES IS BEING MADE BY
AN EQUITY PROSPECTUS IN SPANISH.  THE ARGENTINE PRELIMINARY
PRICING SUPPLEMENT AND THE ARGENTINE PRELIMINARY EQUITY
PROSPECTUS DO NOT CONSTITUTE AN OFFER TO SELL OR AN INVITATION
TO MAKE OFFERS TO PURCHASE, AND NO PURCHASE OF THE SECURITIES
REFERRED IN SUCH ARGENTINE PRELIMINARY PRICING SUPPLEMENT AND
PRELIMINARY EQUITY PROSPECTUS MAY BE MADE UNTIL THE PUBLIC OFFER
OF THE SECURITIES HAS BEEN APPROVED BY THE CNV.

CONTACT:  BANCO DE GALICIA Y BUENOS AIRES
          Tte Gral Juan D Peron 407
          Buenos Aires
          Argentina
          C1038AAI
          Phone: +54 11 6329 0000
          Fax: +54 11 6329 6100
          Home Page: http://www.bancogalicia.com.ar
          Contact:
          Juan Martin Etchegoyhen, Chairman
          Antonio R. Garces, Vice Chairman


BANCO FRANCES: Board Approves Sale of Cayman Islands Branch
-----------------------------------------------------------
BBVA Banco Frances, the Argentine unit of Spanish financial
holding company Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (BBV),
announced Thursday that its board of directors has approved the
sale of its Cayman Islands branch, Banco Frances (Cayman)
Limited, to BBVA, relates Dow Jones Newswires.

The transaction, priced at US$238.5 million by two independent
agencies, has already received approval from Cayman Islands
authorities, Banco Frances said in a statement.

Banco Frances is Argentina's largest private bank in terms of
deposits. It reported a net loss of ARS276 million for full-year
2003, narrowing an ARS1.2 billion loss a year earlier.

CONTACT:  BBVA Banco Frances SA
          Reconquista 199
          1003 Buenos Aires,
          Phone: (212) 815-2345
          Fax: (212) 571-3050

Web Site: http://www.bancofrances.com


BANCO FRANCES: Expects $117.7M Capital Injection From Parent
------------------------------------------------------------
Banco Frances informed the Argentine bourse Thursday that its
Spanish parent, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, will pump
US$117.7 million into the unit, relates Dow Jones Newswires.
According to Banco Frances, the capitalization of a US$77.7
million loan and an additional US$40 million in fresh funds for
a total capital injection of US$117.7 million already has the
approval of the Company's board. The increase can't exceed
ARS385 million, the statement said.

The decision now awaits approval from Banco Frances'
shareholders and the Argentine central bank.


BANCO FRANCES: Argentine S&P Rates $1B of Bonds `raBBB-'
-------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's International Ratings, Ltd., maintains an
`raBB+' rating on a total of US$1 billion worth of corporate
bonds issued by Argentine bank BBVA Banco Frances S.A.,
according to the country's securities regulator, Comision
Nacional de Valores (CNV). The rating, which was based on the
Company's finances as of Dec. 31, 2003, applies to bonds called
"Programa de Obligaciones Negociables", with undisclosed
maturity date. These were classified under "program", the CNV
said.

Bonds with `raBB+' rating have somewhat weak protection
parameters relative to other Argentina obligations. The
obligor's capacity to meet its financial commitments on the
obligation is somewhat weak because of major ongoing
uncertainties or exposure to adverse business, financial or
economic conditions, according to the rating agency.

In the meantime, the local S&P assigned an `raBBB-' rating to
another US$1 billion worth of corporate bonds issued by Banco
Frances. The bonds are described as `Programa de Obligaciones
Negociables' and come due at an undisclosed date. They are
classified under "Program."


BHN III: Local S&P Reaffirms Various Debt Ratings
-------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's International Ratings, Ltd. Sucursal Argentina
reaffirmed the `raD' ratings assigned to various Financial
Trusts issued by Fideicomiso Hipotecario BHN III.

The Financial Trusts that carry the rating are as follows:

-- US$14.896 million of "Clase A1" due on May 31, 2017

-- US$82.09 million of "Clase A2" due on May 31, 2017

-- US$5.06 million of "Clase B", due on May 31, 2018

An obligation is rated 'raD' when it is in payment default, or
the obligor has filed for bankruptcy. The 'raD' rating is used
when interest or principal payments are not made on the date
due, even if the applicable grace period has not expired, unless
Standard & Poor's believes that such payments will be made
during such grace period.

In related news, the local S&P also reaffirmed the `raC' rating
assigned to Hipotecario BHN III's "Certificados de
Participacion" worth US$3.374 million due on May 31, 2018.

The 'raC' rating may be used to cover a situation where a
bankruptcy petition has been filed or similar action has been
taken, but payments on the obligation are being continued, said
S&P.


BHN IV: Debt Securities Ratings Reaffirmed
------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's International Ratings, Ltd. Sucursal Argentina
maintains an `raD' rating on the debt securities issued by BHN
IV, according the National Securities Commission of Argentina.

The debt securities that carry the rating are:

- US$156 million of "Serie AV/AF" that came due in April 27 2000

- US$24.4 million of "Serie B," the maturity of which was not
disclosed.

At the same time, US$14.6 million of Participation Certificates
were rated `raC' by the same ratings agency.


CLAXSON INTERACTIVE: Financial Performance Better in 2003
---------------------------------------------------------
Claxson Interactive Group Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: XSON)
("Claxson" or the "Company"), announced Thursday financial
results for the three and twelve-month periods ended December
31, 2003.

Financial Results

Operating income for the three-month period ended December 31,
2003 was $3.5 million, representing a $3.0 million improvement
from an operating income of $0.5 million for the three-month
period ended December 31, 2002. Operating income for the twelve-
month period ended December 31, 2003 was $5.3 million
representing a $7.6 million improvement from an operating loss
of $2.3 million for the same period of 2002. The improvement in
operating results for 2003 is due to a 9% increase in revenues
and a 1% decrease in operating expenses.

As a result of the Company's agreement with Playboy Enterprises,
Inc., the 2003 results include the consolidation of the
operations of Playboy TV Latin America & Iberia (PTVLA) into the
operations of Claxson's Pay TV division.

Net revenues for the fourth quarter of 2003 were $22.5 million,
a 15% increase from net revenues of $19.6 million for the fourth
quarter of 2002. Net revenues were affected by the consolidation
of the PTVLA operations, the appreciation of the Argentine and
Chilean currencies, and the improved performance of Claxson's
Broadcast Division assets, partially offset by a decrease in
subscriber rates received from DIRECTV(TM) Latin America when
compared to 2002. Net revenues for the twelve months ended
December 31, 2003 totaled $81.8 million compared to net revenues
of $75.0 million for the twelve months ended December 31, 2002.

During the fourth quarter of 2003, the average exchange rate of
the Argentine and Chilean currencies compared to the U.S. dollar
appreciated 18% and 9%, respectively, versus the same period in
2002. For the twelve-month period ended December 31, 2003 the
average appreciation of the currency in Argentina was 6%, while
the Chilean currency depreciated 2%, compared to the same period
in 2002.

"We have completed a significant year in Claxson's financial and
operational consolidation. During 2003, the growth of our
revenues, together with a strict cost management philosophy, put
Claxson on the path to profitability," said Roberto Vivo,
Chairman and CEO, Claxson. "This quarter closes a year where
Claxson strengthened its turnaround and faces 2004 strategically
situated to maintain and solidify its competitive position in
the market. I am very proud of the accomplishments of my
management team and every employee at Claxson who accepted the
challenge and worked very hard to bring us up to where we are
today."

Subscriber-based fees for the three-month period ended December
31, 2003 totaled $9.7 million, representing approximately 43% of
total net revenues and a 35% increase from subscriber-based fees
of $7.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2002. The increase is
primarily attributed to the consolidation of PTVLA, and to a
lesser extent to the appreciation of the Argentine currency,
partially offset by reduced fees from DIRECTV Latin America. In
November 2002, the Company agreed to a reduction in DIRECTV
Latin America's subscriber rates and converted prices to local
currencies, in exchange for a two year extension in the
contract's maturity. Subscriber-based fees for the twelve months
ended December 31, 2003 totaled $38.9 million compared to $31.6
million for the same period of 2002.

Advertising revenues for the three-month period ended December
31, 2003 were $11.7 million, representing approximately 52% of
Claxson's total net revenues and a 23% increase from advertising
revenues of $9.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2002.
Advertising revenues for the twelve months ended December 31,
2003 totaled $37.3 million compared to $30.5 million for the
same period of 2002. The improvement in advertising revenues is
due primarily to increased revenues from the Company's Broadcast
assets in Chile, especially from Chilevision, Claxson's
broadcast TV station, as a result of improved ratings; and to a
better pay TV advertising market in Argentina as compared to
2002.

Production services revenues for the three-month period ended
December 31, 2003 were $0.7 million, compared to $1.7 million
for the fourth quarter of 2002. This decrease was primarily due
to the consolidation of PTVLA, as services provided to PTVLA are
now eliminated upon consolidation, and a decrease in volumes
handled by The Kitchen, Inc., Claxson's Miami-based broadcast
and dubbing facility, as a result of the adverse economic
situation in Latin America. Production services revenues for the
twelve months ended December 31, 2003 totaled $2.9 million
compared to $7.1 million for the same period of 2002.

Other revenues for the three-month period ended December 31,
2003 were $0.4 million compared to $1.2 million for the fourth
quarter of 2002. This decrease is due to the consolidation of
PTVLA, as services provided to PTVLA are now eliminated upon
consolidation, as well as the discontinuation of services
provided to Playboy TV International. Other revenues for the
twelve months ended December 31, 2003 totaled $2.6 million
compared to $5.8 million for the same period of 2002.

Operating expenses for the three months ended December 31, 2003
were $19.0 million, virtually unchanged from the $19.1 million
in the fourth quarter of 2002, due primarily to the decrease in
amortization of our broadcast licenses in Chile as well as
continuous efforts to reduce costs, partially offset by the
consolidation and rationalization of PTVLA. Operating expenses
for the twelve months ended December 31, 2003 totaled $76.5
million compared to $77.3 million for the same twelve months in
2002.

Interest expense for the three-month period ended December 31,
2003 was $0.5 million compared to $2.5 million for the fourth
quarter of 2002. This decrease is attributable to the Exchange
Offer and consent solicitation as all future interest on the
Claxson Notes is reflected as part of the balance of the debt.
As interest on these Notes is paid, the debt will be reduced
proportionately. Interest expense for the twelve months ended
December 31, 2003 totaled $2.2 million compared to interest
expense of $12.4 million for the twelve months ended December
31, 2002.

Net income for the three months ended December 31, 2003 was $1.1
million ($0.06 per common share), including a $0.6 million
foreign exchange gain due to the fluctuations of local
currencies. As dictated by the Company's amended and restated
memorandum of association, on September 21, 2003, all of our
outstanding Series A preferred shares were mandatorily converted
to Class A common shares increasing the total outstanding Class
A common shares from 18.7 million to 19.4 million. The number of
shares used for the per-share earnings computation reflects this
conversion. The fourth quarter net income decreased from $24.0
million for the same period in 2002, which was attributed to a
gain on fluctuations on exchange rates and a gain on debt
restructuring. For the twelve month period ended December 31,
2003 net income was $8.3 million, which represents a turnaround
of $146.8 million over the $138.4 million net loss for the same
twelve months of 2002.

As of December 31, 2003, Claxson had a balance of cash and cash
equivalents of $7.7 million and $88.3 million in debt, which
includes $20.3 million in future interest payments of the 8.75%
Senior Notes due in 2010. During the year 2003 Claxson operating
activities generated cash flows of $13.7 million compared to
$2.0 million for the same period of 2002. Cash generated from
operating activities was primarily used for capital
expenditures, to maintain and/or update the Company's equipment
and buildings, and for the payment of debt obligations, as well
as for the payment of commitments related to the purchase of
minority interest in our Broadcast assets and the payment of
fees related to the Claxson formation transaction.

Fourth Quarter Highlights

Following the launch of a new online chat service developed by
Claxson's Broadband and Internet Division for America Online
Latin America, Inc. (Nasdaq: AOLA), Claxson and America Online
Latin America announced the launch of Cupido.net
(http://cupido.net),a matchmaking and meeting Internet service
available to all web users in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.
These arrangements underscore Claxson's commitment to the new
phase of its broadband and Internet business model by offering
technology development and support services to external clients
through its ESDC Digital Platform.

In December 2003, due to Chilevision's use of hidden camera
recordings made and/or broadcasted by Chilevision as part of its
investigative reporting on high-profile news of local interest,
certain officers and journalists of Chilevision were named the
subject of several pending criminal proceedings in Chile. No
formal criminal charges have been brought against any of
Chilevision's employees that are the subject of the pending
criminal proceedings. No civil actions have been filed against
Chilevision or its employees. These proceedings have been of
high profile in the Chilean media and although we cannot predict
their outcome, we believe that the allegations in these
proceedings are without merit and have retained counsel to
vigorously defend Chilevision and its employees in these cases.
Accordingly, Claxson has not reserved for any contingent
liabilities as of December 31, 2003 related to these
proceedings.

About Claxson

Claxson (OTC Bulletin Board: XSON) is a multimedia company
providing branded entertainment content targeted to Spanish and
Portuguese speakers around the world. Claxson has a portfolio of
popular entertainment brands that are distributed over multiple
platforms through its assets in pay television, broadcast
television, radio and the Internet. Claxson was formed on
September 21, 2001 in a merger transaction, which combined El
Sitio, Inc. and other media assets contributed by funds
affiliated with Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Inc. and members of
the Cisneros Group of Companies. Headquartered in Buenos Aires,
Argentina, and Miami, Florida, Claxson has a presence in all key
Ibero- American countries, including without limitation,
Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Spain, Portugal and the United
States.

To see financial statements:
http://bankrupt.com/misc/Claxson_Interactive.txt


CLISA: Local S&P Maintains Ratings on Corporate Bonds
-----------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's International Ratings, Ltd. Sucursal Argentina
maintains an `raB-' rating on US$120 million worth of corporate
bonds issued by Argentine company CLISA, according to the
country's securities regulator, the Comision Nacional de Valores
(CNV). The bonds were described as "Obligaciones Negociables con
garantia (AGO 21-01-03, AD 23-01-03)". These were classified
under `Simple Issue' and will mature on June 1, 2012.

S&P said that an obligation rated `raB' denotes weak protection
parameters relative to other Argentine obligations. The obligor
currently has the capacity to meet its financial commitments on
the obligation. But adverse business, financial, or economic
conditions would likely impair capacity or willingness of the
obligor to meet its financial commitments on the obligations.

At the same time, the local S&P maintains an `raD' rating on
US$100 million worth of CLISA's bonds described as "Obligaciones
Negociables con garantia." The bonds, classified under `Simple
Issue,' come due on June 1 this year.

The rating actions were based on the Company's finances as of
the end of Dec. 2003.


IEBA: $230M of Corporate Bonds Get Default Ratings From S&P
-----------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's International Ratings, Ltd. Sucursal Argentina
assigned an `raD' rating to a total of US$230 million of
Inversora Electrica de Buenos Aires S.A.'s (IEBA) corporate
bonds. The rating was determined from the Company's finances as
of Dec. 31, 2003. According to the CNV, the rating applies to
US$130 million of bonds described as" Obligaciones Negociables
Simples no convertibles en acciones", which will come due Sep.
16 this year.

The rating also affects US$100 million of " Obligaciones
Negociables Simples no convertibles en acciones", which expired
on Sep. 16, 2002. These two sets of bonds were classified under
"Simple Issue".


IMPSA: Fitch Argentina Maintains Ratings on Corporate Bonds
-----------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Argentina Calificadora de Riego S.A maintains a `D(arg)'
rating on US$150 million worth of corporate bonds issued by
Industrias Metalurgicas Pescarmona SA (IMPSA), the CNV says.
The affected bonds, under the type "series and/or class" were
described as "2 Serie emitida por US$150 millones del Programa
Global de US$ 250 millones." The bonds expired on May 30, 2002.

A `D (arg)' rating indicates a company has defaulted on its
financial commitment. At the same time, Fitch maintains a
`C(arg)' rating on US$250 million worth of IMPSA's bonds which
are classified under program and are described as "Programa de
obligaciones negociables." The maturity date of such issuance
was not disclosed.

A `C(arg)' The rating indicates a highly uncertain capacity for
timely payment of financial commitments relative to other
issuers or issues in the same country. Capacity or meeting
financial commitments is solely reliant upon a sustained,
favorable business and economic environment, said Fitch.

The ratings assigned were based on IMPSA's financial health as
of the end of October 2003.


IRSA: Buying Back $12M of its Debt at 28% Discount
--------------------------------------------------
As a part of IRSA's (NYSE: IRS) (BCBA: IRSA) debt and financial
costs reduction strategy, on March 17, 2004, the Company made a
US$ 12.0 million prepayment to HSBC Bank plc. London under the
US$ 51.0 million Unsecured Loan Agreement with final maturity in
November 2009. The transaction involved a payment of US$ 8.6
million, 72% of face value, representing a US$ 3.4 million
discount, and was completed under the conditions of the
Unsecured Loan Agreement. A substantial part of the funds used
for the debt buy-back came from the cash obtained from the
exercising of warrants as of December 31, 2003, which supports
the successful debt restructuring strategy implemented by the
Company.

CONTACT:  Alejandro Elsztain -- Director
          +011-(5411)-4344-4636
          E-mail: finanzas@irsa.com.ar
          URL: www.irsa.com.ar


LOMA NEGRA: S&P Reaffirms `raBB' Rating on $39.78M of Bonds
-----------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's International Ratings, Ltd. Sucursal Argentina
reaffirmed its `raBB' rating on US$39,778,828 of corporate bonds
issued by Loma Negra Cia. Industrial Argentina. The rating was
based on the Company's finances as of Dec. 31, 2003. The CNV
described the affected bonds as "Obligaciones Negociables Serie
6". The bonds were classified under "Series and/or Class", and
will mature on September 30, 2013.

An obligation rated `raBB' denotes somewhat weak protection
parameters relative to other Argentine obligations. The
obligor's capacity to meet its financial commitments upon the
obligation is somewhat weak because of major ongoing
uncertainties or exposure to adverse business, financial or
economic conditions.


METROGAS: Local S&P Assigns Various Bonds Default Ratings
---------------------------------------------------------
The Argentine arm of Standard & Poor's International Ratings,
Ltd. assigned an `raD' rating to various corporate bonds issued
by Metrogas S.A., according to the CVN. The rating affects the
following bonds that are classified under Series and/or Class:

- US$130 million worth of " Serie C por U$S 130.000.000 dentro
del Programa Global de U$S 600 millones" which will mature on
May 7, 2004

- US$110 million worth of "Serie B por euros 110 millones" which
matured on Sep. 27, 2002

- US$100 million worth of "Serie A por U$S 100.000.000 dentro
del Programa Global de U$S 600 millones" which will mature on
April 1 2003

The rating also affects corporate bonds worth US$600 million,
which are classified under Program. The maturity date of this
particular bond issuance was not disclosed.

The rating assigned to all the bonds were based on Metrogas'
financial status as of Dec. 31, 2003.

CONTACT:  METROGAS, S.A.
          Gregorio Araoz de Lamadrid 1360
          Buenos Aires
          Argentina
          CPA C 1267
          Phone: +54 11 4309 1010
          Fax:  +54 11 4309 1025
          Home Page; http://www.metrogas.com.ar
          Contact:
          William Harvey Alvarez, President


MOVICOM BELLSOUTH: Telefonica Says Merger No Competition Threat
---------------------------------------------------------------
Telefonica SA's chairman Cesar Alierta met with Argentine
President Nestor Kirchner Thursday to discuss Telefonica
Moviles' plan to merge its local unit Unifon with Movicom
BellSouth, the Argentine subsidiary of BellSouth (NYSE: BLS).
Telefonica Moviles is the cellular unit of Telefonica and
operates the Unifon mobile phone brand in Argentina.

In the meeting, which was also attended by Telefonica Moviles
Chairman Antonio Viana-Baptista and Argentina's Planning
Minister Julio De Vido, Alierta pointed out that the plan, which
is part of Telefonica's US$5.85-billion purchase of BellSouth's
Latin American assets, doesn't pose a challenge to cellular
phone competition in Argentina.

In a press statement, Telefonica said Alierta assured Kirchner
and De Vido that "the characteristics of the operation include
formal guarantees and a sufficient commitment to comply with the
demands and requirements established by Argentine legislation."

Furthermore, the deal would not harm the local telecoms market,
as the resulting three-way competitive scenario - with
Telefonica Moviles, Personal and CTI Movil - has already been
successfully implemented in other countries, Telefonica said.

Telefonica has a cellular client base of 2 million in Argentina
and would double that figure through its acquisition of local
operator Movicom BellSouth, in which BellSouth has a 65% stake.
This would give it about a 42% market share, jumping ahead of
current leader Telecom Argentina (TEO), which has 2.6 million
users. CTI Movil, a unit of Mexico's America Movil (AMX), is the
fourth player with another 1.5 million subscribers.


MULTICANAL: Issues Notification Regarding APE
---------------------------------------------
Messrs.

Buenos Aires Stock Exchange

Ref.: Multicanal S.A. s/ Acuerdo Preventivo Extrajudicial
Dear Sirs:

Martin G. Rios, in my capacity as Person in Charge of Market
Relations on behalf of Multicanal S.A. (the "Company"), proof of
such representation previously filed, with a registered domicile
established for this presentation at Hipolito Yrigoyen 1628, 2nd
Floor, Federal Capital City, Tel. 4375-3629 Fax 4375-2580,
addresses this letter to you in relation to the notification
dated January 29, 2004 with respect to the filing by the
Company's Board of Directors of a legal proceeding under Section
304 of the United States Bankruptcy Code for purposes of
obtaining recognition of and giving effect to court approval
proceedings for the acuerdo preventivo extrajudicial reached by
the Company in Argentina.

In such legal proceeding Argentinian Recovery Company LLC (an
affiliate of W.R. Huff Fund, hereinafter, "ARC") preliminarily
sought a declaration that its rights as a holder of negotiable
obligations issued by the Company and placed, among other
markets, in the United States, pursuant to indentures subject to
the United States Trust Indenture Act cannot, as a matter of
law, be impaired by a foreign bankruptcy proceeding, and that
for that reason the abovementioned
Section 304 proceeding should not be applicable in the case of
Multicanal S.A. We notify you that on March 12, 2004 such
preliminary motion was denied by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
Accordingly, the Section 304 proceeding is continuing and any
other relevant event related to such proceeding will be
notified.

Yours sincerely,

Martin G. Rios


TGS: S&P Maintains, Assigns Ratings to Various Bonds
----------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's International Ratings, Ltd. Sucursal Argentina
maintains an `raD' rating on US$100 million worth of corporate
bonds issued by Transportadora de Gas del Sur S.A. (TGS), says
the CNV. The bonds are described as "Obligaciones Negociables
emitidas bajo el Programa Global de Titulos de Corot y Mediano
Plazo por USD 500 Mio, vencido en diciembre de 1998." These were
classified under "Simple Issue" and matured on December 2, 2002.

In the meantime, S&P assigned an `raD' rating on another set of
bonds classified under Program. These are:

- US$300 million worth of bonds described as "Programa Global de
2000"

- USR$500 million in bonds described as "Programa Global de
1999"

The maturity dates of these bonds were not disclosed.

The rating actions are based on the Company's financial status
as of Dec. 31, 2003.


TITAN TELECOM: Fitch Downgrades Financial Trust Rating
------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Argentina Calificadora de Riesgo S.A. moved the debt
securities issued by Titan Telecom Personal 2000 Clase I to
`D(arg)' from `C(arg),' according to the Comision Nacional de
Valores, Argentina's securities regulator. The rating affects to
ARS70 million worth of Financial Trust described as "Titulos de
deuda por valor nominal $70 millones." The maturity date of the
debt wasn't disclosed.

The rating is assigned to debt securities that are in payment
default, or whose obligor has filed for bankruptcy.



===========
B R A Z I L
===========

AES CORP.: Increases Revolving Credit Facility to $450M
-------------------------------------------------------
The AES Corporation (NYSE: AES) announced Thursday it has
increased the size of its secured revolving credit facility from
$250 million to $450 million through an expanded group of global
financial institutions. The Company also said it has negotiated
amendments to its secured bank credit agreement, which includes
the revolving credit facility and a $200 million secured term
loan, to add financial flexibility to support the Company's
financial strategy. For example, the amendments will allow the
company to better utilize available cash to repurchase existing
unsecured debt. Consistent with the Company's improving credit
statistics, there were no changes in the credit agreement's
pricing, financial covenants or maturity date. The amended
credit facility and term loan expire in July 2007.

"This expanded credit facility is part of our financial plan to
strengthen our capital structure and improve our credit
quality," said Barry Sharp, Executive Vice President and Chief
Financial Officer. "It also lets us reduce interest expense by
using more of our available cash to pay down debt, consistent
with our earnings guidance for 2004, while meeting our liquidity
targets." This financing was contemplated and taken into account
in the Company's February 5, 2004 earnings guidance of $0.62 per
diluted share from continuing operations, and therefore this
press release is not intended to reaffirm or update its prior
earnings guidance.

About AES

AES is a leading global power company, with 2003 sales of $8.4
billion. AES delivers 45,000 megawatts of electricity to
customers in 27 countries through 114 power facilities and 17
distribution companies. Our 30,000 people are committed to
operational excellence and meeting the world's growing power
needs. To learn more about AES, please visit www.aes.com or
contact AES investor relations at investing@aes.com.

CONTACT: AES, Arlington
         Scott Cunningham, 703-558-4875


AES CORP.: Outlines Plans for Brasiliana IPO
--------------------------------------------
Brasiliana, Brazil's newest power sector holding company
controlled by US power company AES and national development bank
BNDES, will hold an IPO in the future, Business News Americas
reports, citing Eletropaulo CFO Andrea Ruschmann.

"It is in our plans for the future because Brasiliana was
created as a public limited company, but we are not looking at
that for now," said Ruschmann, who was speaking to analysts
during a meeting Wednesday afternoon.

In December 2003, AES signed a US$1.2-billion debt-for-equity
agreement with national development bank BNDES. As part of the
deal, AES transferred its shares in three other companies -
distributor Eletropaulo and generators AES Tiete and Urguaiana -
to Brasiliana, in which AES has a controlling 50.01% voting
stake, with BNDES holding the remaining shares.


EMBRATEL: Brazil Eyeing Star One
--------------------------------
An official from Brazil indicated Thursday that the government
wants to get a stake in a satellite unit of Embratel
Participacoes SA (EMT), the country's largest long-distance
carrier, Reuters reports, citing Folha de S.Paulo newspaper.

The government will probably discuss the matter with executives
from Telmex who are scheduled to come to Brazil this week to
speak to authorities about the Mexican company's recent purchase
of a controlling stake in Embratel from U.S. operator MCI
for US$360 million.

Late Thursday, Brazil's Minister of Communications Eunicio
Oliveira said that Telmex was willing to discuss the possibility
of creating a so-called golden share for the government in
Embratel's Star One.

Star One operates five satellites that transmit phone calls,
data and television broadcasts. Brazil's military is one of its
clients and considers it a strategic asset that should be kept
under national control.

Telmex could resolve the situation by giving the Brazilian
government a so-called "golden share" in Star One that would
give it veto power in corporate decisions. It could also sell
the unit to the government to resolve the situation.


GERDAU: Details Interest Payment on Capital Stock
-------------------------------------------------
We hereby inform our Shareholders that the Boards of the
companies listed below, in meetings to be held on March 30,
2004, will deliberate about the proposals presented by
management on March 18, 2004 regarding the payment of dividends
of the first quarter of the current fiscal year and calculated
and paid based on the position held by shareholders on March 30,
2004. These dividends will be paid as interest on capital stock
on May 18, 2004, and constitute an anticipation of the annual
minimum dividend as stated in the by-laws, as follows:

                                       Amount per share
                                (Common and Preferred Shares)

   METALURGICA GERDAU S.A.                  R$ 1.10

   GERDAU S.A.                              R$ 0.64

Please note that the above mentioned amounts will have deducted
15% (fifteen percent) for Income Tax as per Paragraph 2, article
9 of the Brazilian Corporate Law # 9249/95.

Shareholders exempt of Income Tax Withholding must confirm this
status by mailing the corresponding documents to the address
below no later than March 30, 2004:

    GERDAU - Setor de Acionistas (Shareholders Services)
    Av. Farrapos, 1811.
    Porto Alegre RS CEP 90220-005
    BRASIL
    Phone: +55 (51) 3323-2211

The Company will consider that the shareholder is not tax-exempt
if the above-mentioned documents are not received by the
aforementioned date.

Please note that shares acquired on March 31, 2004, inclusive,
in the Stock Market will be Ex-Dividend.



=========
C H I L E
=========

AES GENER: Accelerates Bonds' Tender Offer Experation
-----------------------------------------------------
AES Gener S.A. (the "Company") announced Thursday that it has
amended the expiration date for its previously announced cash
tender offer for any and all of its 6% Chilean convertible bonds
(the "Chilean Bonds"). The Company's offer for the Chilean Bonds
will now expire at 10:00 a.m., Santiago time (9:00 a.m., New
York City time), on March 23, 2004, unless extended or earlier
terminated pursuant to the terms of such offer. The Company's
offer for the Chilean Bonds was previously scheduled to expire
at 10:00 a.m., Santiago time (9:00 a.m., New York City time), on
April 1, 2004.

As previously announced, the Company's offer for its 6% U.S.
senior convertible notes due 2005 (the "U.S. Convertible Notes")
is scheduled to expire at 12:00 midnight, New York City time, on
April 1, 2004. As of 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on March 17,
2004, approximately US$55.1 million principal amount of U.S.
Convertible Notes had been tendered, representing 74.63%
aggregate principal amount of U.S. Convertible Notes outstanding
as of such time.

The Company has retained Deutsche Bank Securities, Inc. and its
affiliates to act as the exclusive Dealer Manager in connection
with the tender offers and as Solicitation Agent in connection
with the consent solicitation. Questions concerning the terms of
the offer for the U.S. Convertible Notes (the "U.S. Tender
Offer") and the consent solicitation for the U.S. Convertible
Notes (the "U.S. Consent Solicitation") may be directed to
Deutsche Bank Securities, attention: Jenny Lie, at (866) 627-
0391 (US toll-free) or (212) 250-7445 (collect). Deutsche
Securities Corredores de Bolsa Limitada is acting as
Administrator in connection with the tender offer of the Chilean
Bonds. Questions concerning the terms and procedures of the
tender offer of the Chilean Bonds may be directed to the
Administrator at (562) 337-7700.

The Company has engaged D.F. King & Co., Inc. to act as the
Information Agent in connection with the U.S. Tender Offer and
the U.S. Consent Solicitation. Documents relating to the U.S.
Tender Offer and the U.S. Consent Solicitation may be obtained
by contacting the Information Agent at (888) 644-5854 (US toll
free) or (212) 269-5550 (collect).

Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas is the Tender Agent in
connection with the U.S. Tender Offer and the U.S. Consent
Solicitation.

CONTACT:  Daniel Aninat, AES Gener S.A.: (562) 686-8938
          Vanessa Thiers, AES Gener S.A.: (562) 686-8948



===============
C O L O M B I A
===============

AVIANCA: Shareholders Liquidate to Rescue Troubled Airline
----------------------------------------------------------
The two main shareholders of Colombia's flagship airline Avianca
agreed to hand their stakes in the ailing airline to Brazilian
conglomerate Grupo Sinergy in order to save Avianca. Under the
agreement, Valores Bavaria, a leading Colombian conglomerate,
will hand its 50% stake in Avianca over to Grupo Sinergy.

The National Federation of Coffee Growers, Avianca's other big
shareholder, initially will hand half of its 50% holding over to
Grupo Sinergy. It will keep its remaining 25% stake for three
years, after which time it can exercise the right to sell the
remainder to Grupo Sinergy.

Grupo Sinergy, for its part, will invest US$64 million to revive
Avianca, which has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in
the United States. The deal "definitely puts Avianca on a path
to financial stability, commercial growth and a stronger
presence on the national and international airline market," said
Gabriel Silva, the head of the coffee federation.

Grupo Sinergy, headed by Brazilian businessman German
Efromovich, is active in the petroleum, naval, electricity
generation, telecommunications and aviation sectors. The
conglomerate provides maritime platforms for the oil industry in
Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia.



=============
E C U A D O R
=============

PETROECUADOR: Signs OCP Pipeline Deal, Awaits Govt. Approval
------------------------------------------------------------
Ecuador's state oil company Petroecuador struck an accord with
the owners of the OCP heavy crude pipeline to transport crude
through the privately owned facility after a landslide ruptured
the Sote pipeline more than a week ago. According to Dow Jones,
the Company is awaiting approval of the deal by Ecuador's
Attorney General, Jose Maria Borja.

Petroecuador President Pedro Espin said that the attorney
general pledged to sign off on the deal in short order, but so
far Thursday there has been no word from Borja's office.

The agreement is valid until April 30 but could be extended to
May 31, Espin said. Repairs on the Sote could take about one
month. Under the agreement, Petroecuador will pay a preferential
transport fee of US$2 a barrel plus US$0.75 or US$1.07 a barrel
for the "distance factor," depending on whether the crude is
received at the OCP's Sardinas or Amazonas stations.

The fee is lower than that which the current OCP users pay but
much higher than the US$0.60 a barrel that Petroecuador pays on
the Sote.



===========
M E X I C O
===========

SPEIZMAN INDUSTRIES: Extends Bank Agreements Once Again
-------------------------------------------------------
Speizman Industries, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: SPZN) reported
Thursday that it has entered into an Eighth Amendment and
Forbearance Agreement relating to its credit facility with
SouthTrust Bank, extending the maturity date until May 7, 2004.
The amended credit facility provides a revolving line of credit
up to $9.0 million and, except for letters of credit already
outstanding, eliminates the Company's existing line for the
issuance of documentary letters of credit. The availability
under the revised combined facility is limited to a borrowing
base as defined by the bank. The Company has limited
availability under the line as of March 18, 2004.

Speizman Industries is a leader in the sale and distribution of
specialized industrial machinery, parts and equipment. The
Company acts as exclusive distributor in the United States,
Canada, and Mexico for leading Italian manufacturers of textile
equipment and is a leading distributor in the United States of
industrial laundry equipment representing several United States
manufacturers.

CONTACT:  SPEIZMAN INDUSTRIES
          Web site: www.speizman.com
          Gail Gormly, 1-704-559-5777
          Email: ggormly@speizman.com



                            ***********


S U B S C R I P T I O N   I N F O R M A T I O N

Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America is a daily newsletter
co-published by Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., Fairless
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Copyright 2004.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1529-2746.

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